Doing voices and getting into character: Nathan and Lewis share their magical experiences of sharing stories with their babies

Time-pressed dads discuss the challenges of incorporating reading with their children into everyday family life but emphasise how great the bonding experience and development can be when they are able to.

First-time parent Nathan has a nine-week old son. “I do think time would be one of the biggest restrictors of reading together,” he says. “By the time I get home from work, have dinner, have a shower and sit down for five minutes, it’s already past 8 o’clock. By then, we’re trying to get him in the bath, get him dressed for bed, get him in his routine.”

Since coming to Cornwall’s WILD Young Parents Project and engaging with BookTrust’s resources and book-related family activities, Nathan feels more supported and motivated to share the magic of reading with his baby son. What would he say to encourage other time-strapped dads?

“If you spend ten or 15 minutes reading a little book or a couple of pages,” he says. “Just fall into character – do the voices, change your tone. Get them interested and confused at the same time! They will benefit from it, you’ll bond with them more.”

Nathan adds: “My mate got us The Hobbit to read to him. I will full send [give 100 per cent to] the characters! I can’t wait for The Lord of the Rings – Gandalf! I will do the voice, I’ll do the acting, I’ll do everything!

Meanwhile, Lewis, has seen a huge difference in his one-year-old daughter’s speech and language development since reading became a daily part of family life.

“We had a point where she wasn’t really saying too many things,” says Lewis. “We got more reading going and, all of a sudden, she was coming out with key words like “mama”. She was even saying “thank you” and “up” when she wanted to be picked up.”

He adds: “Two years ago, I never thought I’d be reading bedtime stories to anyone. It’s definitely a key part of bedtime now. We don’t miss it for anything.”

BookTrust collaborates with local partners like WILD Young Parents Project in communities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to share books and resources that encourage families on their reading journeys.

To read more about Nathan and Lewis’s experiences of working with Wild and reading to their babies visit BookTrust.

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